South San Francisco, CA July 14, 2022 by Garden Chapel Funeral Director
Lifelong resident of South San Francisco, Florence Marie Paiva, is gone but never to be forgotten, passing away on 2/22/22.
The youngest child of Italian immigrants, Luigi and Aurelia Descalzo, Florence was born on 8/13/29 at home, now the site of the SSF BART station. Across Mission Road from the family home was Reichardt Duck Farm, where her mother worked and which later became the location of today’s El Camino High School, where all of her children eventually attended school.
As a child, Florence’s household chores included feeding chickens and collecting their eggs, cutting grass to feed the rabbits, and polishing the floor with her feet by sliding around on cleaning cloths! For fun, Florence enjoyed riding her brother Joe’s bike, taking the street car to the beach, visiting cousins in Merced every summer, and playing hide-n-seek among the tombstones in Holy Cross Cemetery! Native Son florist hired Florence as a flower arranger in her young teens and she worked there every weekend until high school graduation.
World War II was ongoing during those years and Florence recalled air raid drills, black outs and rationing. At South City High School, Florence played softball and basketball and met the love of her life, handsome jock, Richard Paiva. They became inseparable after his return from deployment in the South Pacific at the end of WWII. Marriage followed in 1951 and as did their 4 children, Ronald, Joann, Carol and Sharon (and eventually 4 grandchildren….Jeena, Cristina, Gianna and John). With her kids still in school, Florence returned to the work force outside the home, first as a yard duty supervisor at Sunshine Gardens Elementary School and later as a sales associate at The Emporium and Macy’s.
Always concerned about the welfare of others, Florence was a devoted caregiver to Richard during his years of failing health. Following his passing in 2007, Florence blossomed in a new phase of her own life, welcoming great grandchildren (Jameson, Asher and Nora), becoming a fan of Santana’s music and Zydeco dancing (earning her the nickname, Zydeco Flo), and enjoying frequent travels.
Favorite memories in recent years include Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest in New Orleans, traveling to Arkansas for her granddaughter’s wedding, and riding a quad runner through the desert in Arizona! Always curious and up for a new adventure, a yard sale bargain or a gambling trip to Reno, Florence’s trademark and super powers were her brilliant smile, her love of family, and her genuine interest in new found friends and lifelong friends.
A Celebration of Life honoring the memory of Florence is planned for later this summer.